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Tue, Jan 08, 2013

Shuster Likely Will Present Contrast To Mica As Transportation Chair

Incoming Committee Leader Says 'Transportation Is Not Necessarily A Partisan Issue'

Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA), the incoming chair of the House Transportation Committee, may approach the panel's issues differently than his immediate predecessor, Florida Republican John Mica.

Shuster (pictured), whose father Bud chaired the committee in 2001, is reportedly already taking a different tack than the very-conservative Mica. Politico reports that he has already shown a willingness to at least discuss a boost in the federal gasoline tax, as well as other revenue enhancement mechanisms. He has not said that any of them would actually be passed by the committee. Those might include more tolls on highways and a "miles-traveled" fee for vehicles. He has not talked specifically about aviation user fees. Shuster said that transportation is "not necessarily a partisan issue."

Shuster reportedly has good working relationships with Democrats in both houses of congress, including Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Boxer is said to have a high opinion of Shuster as well.

But while being lauded for his willingness to consider revenue enhancements, Shuster is seen as being a fiscal conservative, which is important to many in his party. He is also likely to butt heads with President Obama on some issues. Asked about the need for the White House to provide direction on long-term legislation, Shuster reportedly told Politico. "They haven't taken the lead on much of anything around here in this town. So I'm not sure."

Following his confirmation last week, Shuster released the names of the representatives who will serve on the committee, including Mica. “Working together, the Committee will focus on reforming programs and strengthening America’s transportation networks to make us more efficient, competitive, and prosperous. I am excited to get to get to work with a diverse team of returning and new Members in the 113th Congress,” he said.

FMI: http://transportation.house.gov

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